FAIRFIELD, Maine – Julia’s upcoming firearms auction has been widely promoted as “extraordinary and historic.” The sale has the potential of being one of the most significant firearms sales ever held. It includes many iconic collections. Nearly everything in the auction is fresh to the market out of collections. The sales gross has the potential of generating as much as $20 million or more in sales. Various collections in this sale distinguish themselves as being the most significant of their type ever offered at auction in recent years. The estimates are reasonable and conservative.
One of the most significant collections is that of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, Switzerland. The Sturgess Collection of auto loading arms is the most comprehensive of its type currently in private hands today and without question is the most significant of its type to ever come to auction. Dr. Sturgess spent a large portion of his life assembling this comprehensive collection and recently, with the assistance of Joachin Gortz, compiled a three volume treatise on the history of the automatic pistol. This extraordinary and historic collection numbers approximately 1,400 rare pieces and is so expansive, not all can be sold in one auction. In fact the collection has been divided up into four sessions. The first session will be sold on Wednesday, October 16. Included are numerable great rarities and many are one of a kind, prototypes, and special presentations. A particularly choice lot is an extremely rare cased presentation Borchardt pistol to the President of Mexico, Don Porfirio Diaz. The Borchardt is one of the first truly successful semi-automatic pistols. This one in extraordinary condition is estimated at $150,000-300,000. An extraordinarily rare prototype Luger made for the Swiss/UK trials in 1899/1900, SN #30 is in very fine condition and this great rarity carries a presale estimate of $100,000-200,000.
Another collection for the history books is that of Dr. Douglas Sirkin of Buffalo, New York. His collection of Kentucky Long Rifles together with others in this auction will make this the most significant offering of Kentucky rifles in history. Dr. Sirkin’s Collection of Kentucky rifles is large in number and has been divided up in various sessions. The first session will be offered on Day 2, October 15. Remaining sessions will be offered in future Julia auctions. One of the featured rifles in this esteemed collection is a relief carved percussion rifle by John Armstrong considered one of the finest makers of Kentucky rifles in history and this example is considered one of the finest produced by this important maker. This rifle is estimated at $75,000-125,000. Another stellar Kentucky from the Sirkin Collection is one of the finest Lehigh County relief carved rifles made by Jacob Kunz. This rifle has been in various notable collections and this masterpiece is used on the cover of the Kentucky Rifle Association brochure. This masterpiece carries a presale estimate of $50,000-70,000.
Another historic collection in this extraordinary collection is that of Mr. Frank Sujansky. Mr. Sujansky has amassed what is considered to be the finest and most expansive collection of Kentucky pistols to ever come to auction. Again, this collection is large in number and has been divided into sessions, the first of which will be offered on October 15. Remaining sessions of this collection will be offered in future Julia auctions. One of the most significant Kentucky pistols in this auction is an outstanding rare John Armstrong pistol believed to be the only known signed example by this renowned Maryland maker. It carries a presale estimate of $100,000-175,000.
Dr. Sirkin’s historic and extensive collection of Kentucky rifles is only part of his astounding collection. Also included in the Sirkin Collection is Session One of his spectacular high art early European Wheel Lock arms. Once again, the collection has been divided into two sessions, the first of which will be sold October 15 with the remaining session being sold in Julia’s March 2014 sale. This collection is considered to be one of the finest to come to auction in recent history anywhere in the world. One featured item is an extremely rare Alsatian Double Barrel over/under Wheel Lock, Sedan, circa 1600. This finely engraved and inlaid double barrel masterpiece carries a presale estimate of $50,000-75,000. Also available will be a pair of magnificent and unique Wheel Lock rifles by the Meister Der Tierkopfranke signed MSH, dated 1631 and from the Collection of his Majesty King Leopold of Belgium. These exquisite engraved, inlaid and carved masterpieces are estimated at $50,000-150,000.
The auction also includes the lifelong collection of Mr. Woody Frey of Pennsylvania. Mr. Frey, over his lifetime, has amassed a most discerning assemblage of Winchester rifles. Many are in superb condition and one featured item in his collection is a scarce silver plated and engraved Henry Lever Action Rifle, SN 4522, estimated at $75,000-100,000. Mr. Frey was a most discerning collector and overall the items that he retained for his collection are superb examples and/or considerable rarities. One that is both rare and of extremely fine condition is an 1873 22 cal. lever rifle estimated at $20,000-30,000.
Another important collection to be presented in this auction is Session One of the late Michael Leff Collection of Florida. Mr. Leff amassed a wonderful collection of cased Colts. Session Two will follow in March of 2014. In this auction is a rare pair of cased engraved Colt Model 49 pocket percussion revolvers. This cased matched pair originally in the William Locke Collection and later in the Adam Marcus Chernoff Collection are in superb condition and carries a presale estimate of $70,000-80,000.
Another famous collection is the antique Smith & Wesson collection of Marlan Polhemus. Mr. Polhemus is a scholar and author of antique Smith & Wessons and through the years has amassed an interesting collection, many of which have notable histories. A factory engraved Smith & Wesson #2 Army inscribed to Civil War Sutler, A. Foulke, and the 1st Brigade Horse Artillery. An image of Foulke with his Sutler store accompanies this Civil War lot and is estimated at $6,000-9,000.
Another collection of merit in the Julia sale will be the offering of Class III arms of Bill Morrison. Morrison, born in 1921 and now at the age of 92, is the most senior Federal Firearms license holder in the State of Maine, having operated his business almost continuously since 1940. Morrison’s model MG52-A Water Cooled 50 cal. MG on tripod all in working condition carries a presale estimate of $20,000-30,000. His Marlin-Rockwell 1918 BAR is estimated at $17,500-27,500.
In addition to the Sturgess’ Collection of Military Weapons are examples of another notable collection, that of the late Joe Schroeder, Jr., a renowned, well-known and much admired scholar, author and dealer of military pistols. Included in this collection is the extremely rare and highly desirable systems Mauser, stepped barrel, cutaway SN 24. These guns with proportions of the outer casing cut away to reveal the inner mechanism were used by salespeople to describe the gun and its workings to potential clients. Almost any cutaway example of a firearm is rare and this one carries a presale estimate of $18,000-25,000.
In addition to all these important, and in some cases historic, collections are a plethora of goods acquired from estates and collections all over North America and throughout the world. In addition to the Leff Collection of Colts, other rare Colts to be offered in this sale will include an outstanding cased Colt 3rd Model Dragoon from the Dr. John and Margaret Pickup Collection of Tasmania. This magnificent Colt carries a presale estimate of $70,000-90,000.
Julia’s is renowned for their regular offerings of what is considered some of the finest Sporting Arms to come to auction. A few years ago, they established the world record for the most expensive shotgun ever sold at auction, which sold a little under $1 million. While this auction does not include any million dollar examples, it does contain some arms from one of the world’s most wealthy and famous families: the J.P. Morgan family. An exceptional pair of Henry Atkins side lock ejector game guns that once belonged to J.R. Morgan, Jr. carries a presale estimate of $25,000-35,000. But if it is not prestige of ownership you desire, but you want one of the finest names in shotgun history, you might consider the exceptional exhibition quality James Purdey over/under engraved game gun with gold inlays by Ken Hunt. This magnificent work of art is estimated at $80,000-120,000. From the early 20th century is a historically important L.C. Smith presentation Baker patent documented three-barreled gun believed to be made by L.C. Smith and presented to his brother, L.H. Smith. This near excellent gun is estimated at $60,000-90,000. And a truly exceptional one of a kind Ithaca NID Sousa/$1000 grade 12 ga. Magnum in excellent condition is estimated at $65,000-95,000.
Julia’s consistently presents a diverse offering of rare Civil War and historic items. One exciting lot in this category is the Cavalry guidon of General George Cook. This was a guidon used in the Civil War before Cook went on to become a famous fighter in final Indian Wars of the West. This rare historic flag is estimated at $40,000-50,000. In regards to the Indian Wars, unquestionably the most historic Indian engagement was that of General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn where his entire command was annihilated. Included in this auction is an extremely rare documented Springfield Carbine used at the battle. This fabulous historic gun carries a presale estimate of $100,000-150,000.
All things considered, this is a truly historic sale and should generate extraordinary interest both here and abroad. Great effort has gone into presenting the firearms in this sale and it features three separate catalogs, one for each day of the three day sale. Previews will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 11-13.
Preceding the Julia auction will be the Poulin Auction Company semi-annual firearms auction just located 100 yards from the Julia Auction facility. Mr. Julia’s sister and her husband will be offering a huge 2,000+ unit firearms auction. For information concerning their auction, call the Poulin Auction Company at 207-453-2114 or visit their website at www.poulinantiques.com.